Hanwha signed veteran catcher Lee Jae-won (36), who was released by SSG on March 28, for an annual salary of 50 million won. Hanwha, which lacks a catcher with first-team experience outside of Choi Jae-hoon (35) and Park Sang-un (27), brought in Lee as a backup for possible injuries and to bolster its depth. He’s been on a downward spiral in the last two years, but they’re not looking for a return to his prime. The team is hoping that Kwan-rok will bring his experience as a starting catcher for SSG, where he led the team to two Korean Series titles.
Hanwha Anbang has had a solid two-man system for the past two years with Choi Jae-hoon as the starter and Park Sang-un as the backup. 안전놀이터 The addition of veteran Lee Jae-won could change that. Hanwha coach Choi Won-ho said, “We will continue to watch Lee Jae-won until the exhibition games to decide the first team catcher. The player who is in the best shape will play,” Choi said, predicting competition for the position.
Don’t count out starter Choi Jae-hoon. Hanwha officials believe that Lee Jae-won’s arrival will be a good stimulus for Park Sang-un, who needs to step up. Park also welcomed Lee’s arrival. “I’ve only been playing with (Choi) Jae-hoon and our other catchers, so I’ve been wondering how other teams’ catchers are doing. Now that Lee Jae-won is here, I’m sure I’ll be able to learn from him,” he said, adding, “I won’t mind the competition, but I won’t be too conscious of it. I’m focusing on how I can do well,” he said.
After graduating from Yusin High School
Park was drafted by Hanwha with the 79th overall pick in the second round of the 2016 KBO Draft. In 56 games, he hit for power with a .647 OPS with four home runs and 17 RBIs in 30 games (134 at-bats). His stolen base rate was just 1-for-9, but he improved to 3-for-6 last year. Among all 12 catchers in the league who played at least 80 games, it was second only to Yang Ji Hyun (.378). With stolen bases becoming more important with the pitch clock this year, Park’s strong shoulders and throwing ability will be able to shine even more.
“It was my first full season with the first team, and I had a lot to learn,” said Park, who held down a spot on the first team from the opening game to the end of the season last year. “My biggest goal was to give the team and players confidence in my defense. I gained confidence in my defense by trusting and following Coach Kim Jung-min. Coach Kim pays attention to details. I took notes on ball formations and reviewed them not only before the game but also afterward. It’s not that I didn’t do it before, but I went into more detail, and at first it was time-consuming and difficult, but now I don’t do it because I get anxious if I don’t, so it was a year of learning and growth in that regard.”
While his defense took off, his bat took a step back. In 86 games, he batted just 2-for-29 (145 at-bats) with one home run, 13 RBIs and a .522 OPS. He struggled to hit in the teens all season, and the power he showed in 2022 was gone. He rarely missed a night at the plate after home games, but his season ended without a rebound. Catcher is a position where defense is the most important thing, but it’s hard to keep your job if your bat is too bad.
Park is well aware of this.
“My bat was so bad last year, I don’t know what to say. I felt like I was chasing too much at the plate. I was chasing pitches when I should have been protecting my strike zone. I had to make sure I knew what I could hit and what I couldn’t hit. I struggled last year, so this year I’m trying not to repeat that and stay in my zone.” His bat speed (128.4 km/h to 132.3 km/h) was actually better than a year ago, so there’s plenty of room for improvement if he changes his approach at the plate.
During his inactive period, Park has been lifting weights at the Daejeon home stadium every day, and he has also been spending a lot of time working on his hitting skills with outfielder Choi In-ho. “In-ho has a good bat,” says Park. He’s a junior, but I’m learning by watching him hit from the sidelines,” Park said, showing his commitment to improving his hitting.
Although he became a full-time catcher for the first team last year, his goal this year is to make the starting lineup, which will be highly competitive. “My first goal is always to make the starting lineup. 안전한 파워볼사이트 “The team is better this year, and we have a lot of things that we can do really well,” said Park. I will do my best to make the Hanwha fans, who have always supported us in good times and bad, shout and cheer even louder with a good performance.”